Stateside

Stateside
9:14 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Detroit automakers say they'll kick in $26 million for DIA's part of the "grand bargain"

The Detroit Institute of Arts.
Credit Flickr

Detroit automakers say they will give $26 million to the Detroit Institute of Arts, to go toward toward the "grand bargain," an effort to hasten Detroit's trip through bankruptcy.

Ford and General Motors will each contribute $10 million and Chrysler offered $6 million.

How the money will be distributed, whether in a lump sum or over the course of 20 years, is still in the air. The DIA says it will raise $100 million toward the grand bargain, and that it has already secured commitments for $70 million

Michigan Radio’s Detroit reporter Sarah Cwiek says automakers and auto families have a long history of supporting the DIA. Cwiek also says there is a subtle, but persistent, expectation that the automakers will contribute because they got a helping hand in the past.

Pensioners are voting whether they want the grand bargain; Cwiek says its not clear if the automakers' contributions will have any effect on the votes. 

*Listen to full interview above. 

Families & Community
6:22 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Getting a state ID for the homeless? It's complicated

Credit SamPac / creative commons

Advocates for the homeless say getting a state identification card is much too complicated. There are many people who are homeless and are in need. They want to get their lives together, but need legal ID. Without it, they can't get a job, medical help, or housing.

But there can be many obstacles to overcome in order to get a state ID: You need a birth certificate, Social Security card, high school transcripts, a lease, or other documents that most homeless people just don’t have.

Elizabeth Kelly, executive director of Hope Hospitality and Warming Center in Pontiac, and Greg Markus, the founding organizer of the Detroit Action and Commonwealth, discussed the issue on Stateside.

Kelly says one of the issues homeless people face is that some documents, such as Bridge cards – a state-issued benefits card – or IDs issued by homeless shelters,  aren't accepted by the Michigan Secretary of State as proof of identification.

Greg Markus said the state needs to be more sensitive to the problems of the homeless.

Markus says the Secretary of State will now, after a long battle and lawsuit, accept proof of income during the application process, but he adds this will still exclude those who have no income. 

Kelly said the hurdles are keeping many homeless permanently, and forces some to panhandle or other pursuits in order to provide for themselves.

“How we handle and take care of those in need defines us,” Kelly said. “As a society, this is something that cannot be tolerated.”

*Listen to full interview above.

– Bre’Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom.

Politics & Government
5:59 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Crime in Detroit has declined, but what can we do to keep it down?

Credit Peter Martorano / Flickr

Violent and property crime in Detroit dropped 25% in the first quarter of this year. However, Carl Taylor, a sociology professor at Michigan State University and native Detroiter, says the statistics don’t really reflect what is going on. He added that there's still a lot a crime that's going unreported.

The question Cynthia Canty asked on today’s Stateside was, “What can we do to keep crime declining?”

Taylor said what Detroit needs most is better prevention. Detroit needs more police officers, stronger schools, more jobs, and a closer look at mental health, Taylor says, adding that poverty also has a big impact on crime.

Taylor said that it is possible to keep a steady decline of crime in the city.

“We have to have the citizens, we have to have the resources, and we have to have an attitude change,” Taylor said.

*Listen to full interview in link above.

– Bre’Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom.

Stateside
6:27 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Detroit wins "grand bargain," but questions remain

Credit (photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

It was a big win for Detroit's bankruptcy struggle when the state Senate approved that $195 million rescue package earlier this week. That vote "sealed the deal" on the state's piece of the so-called "grand bargain."

But is the complicated and precarious deal a reality yet?

As Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes explained on the show today, the answer is "no."

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
6:24 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Green Party of Michigan holds election this weekend

Supporters of the Michigan Green Party visit the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department.
Credit Michigan Green Party / Facebook

It might be fair to say the Green Party in Michigan is a little like Rodney Dangerfield: Can't get no respect.

But the party is holding its nominating convention this weekend. It's a reminder that we do have an alternative to the Democrat and Republican parties in the state.

Fred Vitale, chairperson for the Green Party of Michigan, joined us on Stateside today.

He explained what the Green Party platform is based on and how issues such as ecological wisdom and social justice should be the focus for the upcoming election season.

Vitale also talked about how the Green Party can realistically have an impact on politics in Michigan.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
6:21 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

A 40-mile piggyback ride to raise awareness for kids with special needs

Credit User: lorenz kerscher / Wikipedia

Hunter Gandee will go for a walk this weekend.

That might not seem noteworthy. You might be planning on doing the same.

But starting Saturday morning, the 14-year-old from Temperance plans to walk 40 miles, from his home to the University of Michigan campus, carrying his 7-year-old brother, Braden, on his back the entire way.

Braden has cerebral palsy, and his walker doesn't move well on grass, sandy areas or in crowds.

Hunter isn't walking to raise money, but to focus attention on the problem of mobility for kids with special needs.

*Listen to our conversation with Hunter above.

Politics & Culture
6:18 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

New report gathers opinions on fracking in Michigan

Credit Eusko Jaurlaritza / Flickr

What do the people who run Michigan's towns and cities think about the prospect of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" in or near their communities?

A new report from the University of Michigan's Center for Local, State and Urban Policy looks into that question.

In Michigan, only a handful of communities report some type of high-volume fracking operation. It's the controversial process used to extract natural gas by drilling into shale deposits.

The center’s program director, Tom Ivacko, joined us to talk about the results.

*Listen to the interview above.

Politics & Culture
6:09 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, June 5, 2014

Donkeys versus elephants. Republicans versus Democrats. The two-party system in the U.S. tends to get most of our attention, but today we heard from the Green Party of Michigan, as they're holding their convention this weekend and pushing their agenda.

Then we heard why a 14-year-old boy from Temperance, Michigan, is planning to walk 40 miles this weekend from Bedford to Ann Arbor. He plans to carry his younger brother on his back.

And George Patton's granddaughter is mixing "99 Luftballons" with a little "White Cliffs of Dover" for a special concert to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Also on today's show, we dug into new numbers about how local leaders in Michigan feel about hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." It's an issue that will certainly make its way into the 2014 election season.

But first on today's show – two words: “We failed.”

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Stateside
5:31 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

GM CEO Mary Barra says investigation revealed big flaws in ignition switch recall process

Credit Wikipedia

"We failed."

That was the painful self-assessment from General Motors today, as CEO Mary Barra unveiled the findings of an internal investigation into the automaker's ignition switch crisis.

The defective switches are linked to at least 13 deaths and 47 crashes over more than a decade.

Today Barra spoke to GM employees at a town hall meeting broadcast around the world.

Michigan Radio's auto reporter Tracy Samilton was at the town hall, and she joined us on today’s Stateside.

*Listen to our conversation with Tracy Samilton above. 

Politics & Culture
5:46 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Legislation to give almost $200 million to Detroit’s bankruptcy settlement is on its way to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk, after the state Senate approved the measures yesterday. So, how'd we get here? Where do we go next?

Also, on Stateside it was 25 years ago today that Chinese security forces turned on student protestors in Tiananmen Square. We spoke to a Michigan man who was in Beijing leading up to that day.

The U.S Coast Guard has issued a permit to build a new bridge that connects Detroit to Windsor.

But first on Stateside, Herbert Hoover was president when a law was passed in Michigan that made panhandling a criminal misdemeanor.

That 1929 law stood until last September. That's when the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law, saying it trampled on the rights of free speech.

Police in Grand Rapids made vigorous use of that now-overturned law, arresting hundreds over the years for panhandling.

With the state law overturned, Grand Rapids and other cities have been trying to figure out how to keep a lid on  aggressive panhandling, while still respecting the constitutional right to free speech.

Last night, the Grand Rapids City Commission had a meeting on proposed changes to local ordinances.

Michigan Radio's West Michigan reporter Lindsey Smith spoke with Stateside. 

*Listen to full show above. 

Politics & Government
5:43 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

25 years later, majority of Tiananmen Square prisoners released, except maybe one

Credit Robert Croma / Flickr

Twenty-five years ago, Tiananmen Square in central Beijing was the focus of pro-democracy demonstrations. Crowds of protesters, including students and factory workers, camped out in the square for weeks.

But when the Chinese security forces made their decisive move, hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of people were killed.

Hundreds were given lengthy prison sentences. Twenty-five years later, the vast majority have been released. However, one man is thought to still be in jail.

Stateside’s partner BBC’s Celia Hatton spoke to a handful of people who still remember Tiananmen’s last prisoner.

*Listen to audio clip above. 

International Politics & Government/
5:42 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Remembering Tiananmen Square: Tom Watkins reflects on events

Tienanmen Square in 1988.
Credit Derzsi Elekes Andor / Wikimedia Commons

Tom Watkins was on his first trip to China shortly before the People's Liberation Army turned on the people of China, killing an unknown number of pro-democracy protesters in Beijing.

Watkins says the most defining moment of the trip for him was when a Chinese student asked him to describe democracy.

“I felt really inadequate to describe what we take for granted,” Watkins said. “It felt like trying to tell somebody who had never experienced freedom and democracy what it is like to wake up in the morning and start to breathe.”

Watkins was not in China on June 4, 1989, but he did watch the student-led uprising happen, and he recalls seeing the face of a lone man who defiantly blocked a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square.

“I wondered at that time if he was ever going to have his question answered in his own way in his own country,” Watkins said.

Now, 25 years later, Watkins is the president and CEO of the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority. He has spent years traveling between the United States and China campaigning for stronger economic and social ties between the two countries.

Watkins said it is the most important relationship in the world. He said China may surpass the United States as early as this year as the world’s largest economy.

However, there are rising tensions between the two countries. Watkins said the United States’ relationship with China is critical.

*Listen to full interview above.

– Bre'Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Politics & Government
5:38 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

The "grand bargain" moves ahead, but it's not a done deal yet

Credit gophouse.com

Gov. Rick Snyder says he will sign bills giving almost $200 million to Detroit’s bankruptcy settlement, after the state Senate approved the measures yesterday.

Rick Pluta is the Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network.

He spoke with Stateside, and said the grand bargain is not a done deal. The game changer he said, is Judge Gerald Rosen.

Rosen explained the deal to lawmakers, saying the numbers were not just random. Although some Republicans still voted against most of the bills, Pluta said the explanation gave Republicans enough comfort to pass the bargain on.

Pluta said there is a possibility of a lawsuit by the city's pensioners. If the deal fails , the state could end up in court, and if they lose, the state could be held accountable for the money the pensioners lost.

Also, Steven Henderson, editorial page editor for the Detroit Free Press, spoke with Stateside. He said Gov. Snyder will sign the bill, but it’s only one part of the whole puzzle.

Henderson said the only thing left is the vote of the pensioners. Henderson said pensioners are still on the edge of their decision, and many are still not excited about taking a cut. 

*Listen to full interview above. 

- Bre'Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom.

Politics & Government
5:29 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Grand Rapids City Commission proposes changes to panhandling laws

Credit BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons

Last September, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a law that made panhandling a criminal misdemeanor, saying it trampled on the rights of free speech.

Police in Grand Rapids made vigorous use of that now-overturned law, arresting hundreds of people over the years for panhandling.

With the state law overturned, Grand Rapids and other cities have been trying to figure out how to keep a lid on aggressive panhandling, while still respecting the constitutional right to free speech.

Last night, the Grand Rapids City Commission discussed proposed changes to local panhandling ordinances.

Michigan Radio's West Michigan reporter Lindsey Smith, and the American Civil Liberty Union's Miriam Auckerman talked to Stateside about what happened during the meeting.

Smith said the city of Grand Rapids was set to vote on local laws that deal with time, manner, and place restrictions.

The main agreement within the commission is that panhandling next to streets or on street corners can get dangerous. 

*Listen to full interview above.

Politics & Government
11:24 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Why you should care if the United Auto Workers Union is dead

The United Auto Workers union is currently holding its constitutional convention in Detroit, at which delegates are expected to vote on a controversial dues hike.

At the same time, there have been voices asking the question "Is the UAW dead?"

Iin the 1970s, the UAW boasted a formidable membership of 1.6 million members. Today, the union has fewer than 390,000 members.

Earlier this year, the union poured much effort into organizing workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. But more than 53% of those workers said, "no thanks." It was a gut-blow to the union, which first announced it would challenge the vote and then quietly withdrew.

Marick Masters, director of labor, professor of business, and adjunct professor of political science at Wayne State University,  joined us to discuss the relevancy of the UAW in 2014.

Michigan Radio’s political analyst  Jack Lessenberry joined the conversation as well. 

*Listen to interview in link above. 

Arts & Culture
11:13 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Write A House is giving free houses to writers in Detroit

Credit Charles & Adrienne Esseltine / Flickr

What if you were a writer, a journalist, or a poet, and you were given a free house in Detroit?

You'd be an urban homesteader, living in the city and writing about it.

That's the idea behind a project called Write a House.

Journalist Sarah Cox is the co-founder of Write A House and explained how it works on Stateside.  

Listen to interview in link above.  

Weather
11:12 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Ice on Lake Superior is slowly melting

Credit User jen-the-librarian / Flickr

OK, maybe you’ve seen the picture: sunny, 80-degree weather and people lying out in the sand – maybe even getting sunburned on the shores of Lake Superior. And maybe, there in the background, huge pieces of ice still floating around in the lake.

John Lenters is a climatologist at Ann Arbor-based LimnoTech, an environmental consulting firm.

Lenters says says because of the size and depth of the lakes, it will take a while for them to warm up after the extremely cold winter.

The ice is melting, but Lake Superior warms up slowly before it hits 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

*Listen to the interview above. 

Arts & Culture
4:34 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Literary map sees Detroit through the eyes of writers

Credit Peter Martorano / Flickr

The Literary Map of Detroit is not your typical, predictable map of the Motor City. It looks at Detroit through the eyes of writers, poets and storytellers.

The map is actually a website, with locations that are mentioned in literary works by Detroit authors.

Frank Rashid, an English professor at Marygrove college and lifelong Detroiter, created the map.

Rashid created the map to challenge the belief that Detroit’s economic and social problems stem from one simple cause, such as a politician or Detroiters themselves, by providing works from writers that provide an inside look of the city and its history. The literature of Detroit, in combination with economic and historical studies, can help understand the where the issues originate.

Rashid said the map differs from the  superficial treatment of the city in some current literature. He hopes to inspire viewers to see and think about Detroit in a new way.

Read more
Politics & Culture
4:22 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

  Once the United Auto Workers boasted a formidable membership with more than one and half million members. Today: that number is drastically smaller, almost three-fourths smaller, with 390-thousand members.

Much has been written about whether or not the UAW is dead.

But, on today's Stateside, we asked, with such dwindling numbers does it really matter? And, to whom?

There is still ice on Lake Superior in the beginning of June. What is the cause?

A literary map of Detroit as seen through the eyes of writers, author’s and storytellers provides insight of Detroit’s history.

Also, want a free house? Well, if you're a writer, and ready to move to Detroit, you might just be in luck.

But, first on Stateside…

Michigan’s roads are crumbling and people want them fixed. Some estimates say it could cost almost 2 billion dollars a year to fix them.

State lawmakers are in the midst of considering raising revenue through higher taxes on gas and that has raised a lot of debate around what we already pay at the pump.

Michigan Radio’s Mark Brush set out to sort this out for all of us. 

*Listen to full show above. 

Economy
5:05 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Michigan creates EB-5 program to attract job-creating immigrants

Detroit's first Latina council member, Raquel-Castaneda-Lopez, speaks at a press event earlier this year announcing Michigan’s intention to establish an “EB-5 regional center.”
Credit screen shot from LiveStream

It's called the EB-5 program. It's based on the employment-based 5th preference visa program, which allows foreign investors and their families to get their green cards – get permanent residency – by investing in an enterprise that creates at least 10 direct or indirect jobs in Michigan.

Private companies have been using the EB-5 program to bring immigrants into the country, but Michigan has become only the second state – after Vermont – to create a state EB-5 program. It will be staffed by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

Scott Woosley is the MSHDA Executive Director.

*Listen to the full show above.

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